The Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu is less than pleased with Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha’s handling of a controversial R2.4 million project for which he has come under fire.

A total of 40 shacks were proudly unveiled by Mathabatha in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and each structure is said to have cost R64 000, which many industry experts have disputed and said was inflated – prompting suspicions that the project could have been yet another opportunity for looting.

Facing embarrassment, the premier distanced himself from the programme and pointed fingers at national government.

“…the concerns raised regarding the costs and the type of units can best be responded and addressed by our counterparts at national level, in particular the Housing Development Agency and the department,” Mathabatha said.

The recipients of the initiative were people working in Tzaneen, with low income, but live in the hostel to be closer to their places of employment.

In a statement, Sisulu said the premier should have never been invited to hand over the shacks in the first place – particularly without the provincial team first ensuring that they were of acceptable quality.

“Quality checks must be done during and after projects are undertaken to ensure that they meet acceptable standards in line with the Housing Code.  As such, the Minister is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the review of the Talana Project to determine whether it was compliant with the building industry standards”, Sisulu said in a statement on Thursday, 6 August 2020.

Sisulu: ‘A review of the shacks is underway’

The minister said a review on the project is being undertaken by the National Home Builders Registration Council, an agency of the Department that oversees quality assurance of all human settlements projects. A report will be presented to her in 14 days.

Sisulu said she would give an update to cabinet, once the review has been conducted.

“Once the review is done, I will brief the Cabinet on the outcome, as well as inform the people of South Africa as our main beneficiaries who we are here to serve. I do not wish to be associated with unbecoming conduct or have my name mentioned alongside suspicions of corruption,” she said.

“The Department has confirmed that the programme in Limpopo is part of a long-standing Human Settlements programme of Informal Settlements Upgrading that was accelerated as part of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19”

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Presh JM Reporter

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